When You Lose a Good Prospect or Client

No one likes rejection.

But everyone in the landscaping business knows you’re going to experience it, and sometimes several times in a season. You bid on a job, all signs are promising, you develop a real rapport with your prospect, you follow up, and follow up again, and then...nothing, until you see another landscaping company’s trucks parked at their property.

Or a homeowner in a neighborhood you love working in e-mails you, you get right back to them, and then never hear back.

Or a longtime maintenance client suddenly decides to end their contract with you.

Whatever form it takes, rejection has a way of feeling personal. It’s easy to let it derail your day or week, and to go down a rabbit hole of convincing yourself you didn’t really want to work with them anyway, they’re clueless, they’ll learn the hard way that you get what you pay for, etc., etc., and then cross them off your list for all time.

But this response is not productive. It’s perfectly human to be hurt or frustrated by lost business, but you’ll do much more for yourself and your company if you learn to take a step back and honestly assess why you didn’t win the job you bid on or lost a client you valued.

Follow up with your lost prospect or client. Convey your disappointment but respect their decision; explain to them you just want to get better and ask what their deciding factors were. At Grunder Landscaping, it’s not unusual for us to hear the issue was price; we believe we deliver a level of quality that earns our price, but do our prospects understand this value or do our clients recognize the difference? How can we do a better job educating them about quality materials and best horticultural practices?

Keep the door open. Thank them for their business or for considering you, and stay in touch. A no right now can be a yes next season. A no from a young prospect can lead to a yes from their more established parents. What’s more, you should never underestimate the power of word of mouth. You never know where a bridge can lead, but in business burned ones can leave you stranded. 

Do a postmortem analysis with your team. Ask your sales team and/or crews why they think you lost a prospect or client. Sometimes you find out the prospect wasn’t a good fit. Or there was a blip in service that upset your client. Or they were simply impossible to please. What can you and should you do differently going forward?

Rejection will probably still sting, but if you’re smart you can harness it to make your business better.

Have a great week!


Join Us for Our Grunder Landscaping Co. Fall Field Trips

Our Fall Field Trips bring owners and their teams onsite to Grunder Landscaping Co. headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, one of the most successful companies of its kind in the Midwest. You’ll spend a jam-packed day going behind the scenes with president and CEO Marty Grunder, touring the facility and grounds, meeting with the GLC leadership team to see how they operate and optimize each area of the business, and visiting some of the job sites they’re at work on. We purposely limit this event to just 14 attendees so we can guarantee you get the one-on-one attention you need.

Our Fall Field Trips sell out every year so if you plan on joining us, please reserve your spot soon.